About Staying Negative

Staying Negative aims to emotionally engage, inspire and facilitate imagination in sexual health practices. The campaign profiles the real life stories of gay, bisexual and trans men who have sex with men (MSM). Men talk about all aspects of their life from coming out, relationships, sexuality and a broad range of other topics. While HIV and safe sex is an important part of all stories, it is not the exclusive focus.

Prior HIV prevention campaigns have traditionally focused on providing gay men with information that will encourage them to adopt safe sex behaviours. In reality, safe sex practices are influenced by a whole range of environmental and cultural factors. The campaign also provides an opportunity for HIV positive men to talk about their lives and discuss how their strategies to staying HIV negative were not successful. We understand that there is more than one way practice safe sex and adopt healthcare seeking behaviours, so let's be creative about it!

There are no real criteria for participants other than that they are MSM and happy to have their stories appear as part of the campaign. In addition to the personal stories, the website provides information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health, relationships and broad of the other relevant topics including domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and depression.


What is it?

Shigella is a gut infection caused by bacteria in the Shigella family. Shigellosis is also called Bacillary Dysentery or Marlow Syndrome but is most commonly referred to as Shigella.


It can take between 12 hours to 4 days after exposure for symptoms to appear. Symptoms range from mild stomach cramps to full blown diarrhoea, sometimes with blood, dehydration, fever and nausea. It usually takes between four and seven days to recover.


Shigella is very infectious and therefore easily passed on. It’s present in the shit of an infected person and is transmitted when tiny particles of contaminated shit enter the mouth or arse of another person. It’s important to note that even though you may not be able to see any shit it doesn’t mean there isn’t any there.

Transmission usually happens in three ways:

- Rimming
- Fingering/fisting and then touching your mouth or any toys
- Putting contaminated objects like food, pens and cigarettes into your mouth.

During sex, your hands, penis and toys may go in and out of a whole lot of places and it can often be difficult to keep track of what’s been where. This makes it easy for shigella to be transmitted sexually, however all gut infections can also be passed on through contaminated food or water as well.


Treating Shigella tends to focus on treating the symptoms rather than treating the bacteria as your body will naturally get rid of it. As the major symptom is diarrhoea, the best thing to do is to stay hydrated. Oral re-hydration solutions are available from pharmacies and can also be given to replace the lost electrolytes.

Treatments like Imodium which slow down the diarrhoea can be harmful in the case of shigella and may make the symptoms worse. If necessary your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

In severe cases, especially for HIV-positive people, hospitalisation may be needed. Waiters and others involved in food handling are advised not to work while they have shigella and for 7 days after the symptoms stop. Avoid sex with anyone until seven days after the symptoms have ceased.

Tell us your story

Tell us your story


Come and tell us your story! We would love to hear from you! If you want to find out a little more about how it all works, give Jessie a call at VAC on (03) 9865 6700, or email staying.negative@vac.org.au